Games and Gamers 101

An introduction for mental health providers in utilizing games in and out of session for therapeutic outcomes.


Course Description: This presentation will provide a brief, theory-based overview of the intersection of gameplay and mental health interventions with a major focus on integration of games and games culture into clinical practice. First, participants will learn about leveraging a client’s interest in games for therapeutic benefit, such as rapport-building and customizing treatment plans. Second, participants will learn how to incorporate a client’s interest in games in the therapy “room without game consoles or other technology. Last, participants will be provided information and examples on playing games during session, either in person or online. While the focus of the course will be on digital games, tabletop and card games (e.g. Dungeons and Dragons, Magic the Gathering) will also be integrated.


Learning Objectives:

At the end of this presentation, the participant will:

  • Apply motivational and identity theories to gameplay cognition and behaviors.

  • Identify and implement effective strategies for therapeutic gameplay integration with and without the aid of technology.

  • Differentiate normal gameplay and gaming interest from problematic play.


Additional Notes:

This course is intended for clinicians with little to no experience or knowledge of video games and will focus on tween and adolescent populations. It is intended to support clinicians whose clients enjoy video games and/or for whom video games are an important part of their lives. The focus is on using video games to build client-clinician connections, better understand our clients, and engage with clients where they are through the lens of a hobby they enjoy. This presentation is NOT training in the assessment or treatment of problematic play behaviors.



Presentation Slide Samples